Q&A: Dust, Dust, Everywhere is Dust - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Dust, Dust, Everywhere is Dust - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Question

The Bible speaks a lot about being thankful for everything. I understand the perspective of being thankful in persecution, sickness, etc. But why should I be thankful for such things as dust? Dust is nasty. It gets on everything. I am constantly cleaning. How can anyone be thankful for dust?

Answer

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I agree with with you, dusting is a monotonous chore. Like you said, it gets on everything. With electronic items they can get sticky and nasty. As with many other chores like mowing the lawn, cleaning the carpets and washing the dishes, dusting seems like a never-ending battle. Dust is certainly a nuisance, but it can also be a serious source of disease. In some countries it produces ophthalmia often resulting in total blindness.

While there are several other issues of much graver concern than mere dusting (e.g., child endangerment, spousal abuse, hunger), giving thanks in all things "affects" or "infects" all things. Everything is connected (a "web of multiple reciprocities"). An old children's song "Dry Bones" comes to mind

The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

Just as the divine design of the body (Psa. 139:14) is wondrously interconnected, so is everything else in existence. Everything affects everything else. Everyone is connected to everyone else. Our attitudes and responses in small things matter! One attitude infects another. A sinful response toward even dusting can change our attitude (are we short-tempered today because of this chore?). Will the fact that we have to go fill up the gas tank (again!) momentarily change us? Will we cut off a person in traffic on the way to the gas station? How serious are we about that parking spot during the Christmas rush? How will our sinful responses affect others? Has the simple task of dusting all of a sudden become an avalanche of sin headed on a downward course crashing down on many in its dangerous and disastrous path? Dust matters. Attitudes matter. Perhaps some dusting needs to be done in our own hearts.

God is sovereign over all things - even dust. We should be thankful for mere dust. Man after all was created from dust (Gen. 2:7; 3:19: 1 Cor. 15:47). And Abraham's seed was to be like the dust of the earth (Gen. 28:14). Additionally, we may study dust from these perspectives: judgment (Ex. 8:17); healing (John 9:1-12); evangelism (Matt. 10:14).

So, when we do things like "privileged" monotonous chores and find ourselves becoming bored, ungrateful, etc., we should stop for a moment and find a way of glorifying God in what we are doing.

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Related Question

How could one sin infect the entire world?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).